Lord Dying’s 2013 debut, Summon the Faithless, kinda caught me by surprise. Hey, it’s not every day that a relatively unknown band outta Portland issues its debut album on Relapse. But it’s grown on me over time, and translated well to the live setting when I caught ‘em in a shitty Tex-Mex bar on tour with Howl. So my initial indifference has given way to optimism as we head into Round Two.
Poisoned Altars kicks off with the title track, a brief blast of blackened sludge that really brings High on Fire to mind—even in the vocal department. “The Clearing at the End of the Gate” slows things down slightly, offering up more of a Crowbar mid-paced punch than a HOF haymaker. Red Fang frontman Aaron Beam guests on “An Open Sore,” a tune that oozes more mid-paced sludge, a much more menacing creature than anything found on Whales and Leeches. Speaking of creatures, “Suckling at the Teat of a She-Beast” (actual song title, bro!) is one of the more dynamic numbers here, going from bursts of death metal to mid-paced thrash chugging to a more trad-metal style solo.
Don’t get me wrong, while I definitely don’t mind listening to this for 36 minutes, it kinda feels like Matt Pike already wrote all these tunes—silly song titles aside.